James Kenney with UNT students in Chile
James Kennedy, UNT Regents Professor of biological sciences (pictured at center), speaks with UNT students and other participants during the Tracing Darwin's Path faculty-led study abroad course in Chile's Omora Ethnobotanical Park. The annual trip visits UNT's Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program, an international interdisciplinary consortium led by UNT in the U.S. and other Chilean universities and institutions.
Straight from Smatresk

Dear Alum,

The new year is off to a busy start! I kicked it off in Cape Horn, Chile, visiting UNT's Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program. The international interdisciplinary consortium, led by UNT in the U.S., also includes Chilean universities and institutions that research and study conservation in the Cape Horn archipelago.

President Neal Smatresk with students in ChileUNT has extensive ties to Cape Horn, where our students and researchers evaluate an array of cultural and ecological dimensions, thanks to Ricardo Rozzi, the program's director and UNT professor of philosophy and religion. The program received $20 million from the Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica regional governments for the construction of a Sub-Antarctic Cape Horn Center, which is scheduled to open in 2019 in Puerto Williams. I'm impressed by the role it will play to promote sustainable development.

It is just one of the many ways UNT is moving forward this year. This semester, we'll continue to make progress on our goals as we move closer to becoming a global leader in education innovation while providing opportunities for our students to be on the cutting-edge of learning.

To prepare our students for success in an increasingly digital future, we are introducing forward-thinking and in-demand degree programs, including consumer experience management, digital communication analytics, data science, public health, interaction design and an M.B.A. focusing on sport, entertainment and event management. Our location in the Dallas-Fort Worth area — recently named the best job market in the country by the Dallas Business Journal and a potential site for Amazon's new headquarters — makes it imperative that we continue our transformation as a Next Generation Research University to best prepare our students for success after graduation.

We have a busy semester ahead and numerous events. I hope you'll join me in recognizing UNT's teaching excellence, student success and generous alumni and friends at the annual Wingspan Gala March 17. This year's event, The Bright Lights of UNT, features UNT alumna and Tony Award-nominated Broadway performer Carmen Cusack. Table sponsorships are on sale now.

The year holds much promise as we continue on the path to excellence. Thanks to the support of UNT family members like you, we are able to become a better and stronger university for the students of today and tomorrow!

UNT Proud,
Neal Smatresk
President
@UNTPrez

The Inside Scoop
Materials science research
UNT Materials Science and Engineering professors
Faculty and student researchers in UNT's Department of Materials Science and Engineering are making discoveries each day that can transform the world. The U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research tapped one of our researchers to create new aircraft alloys. Associate professor Sundeep Mukherjee has partnered with the Indian Institute of Technology to evaluate the longevity of bioimplants. And a team of materials researchers have discovered a way to create ultralight, highly heat-resistant, magnesium-based material that may revolutionize the future of materials science engineering.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Olympic connections
Gordy Sheer, NASCAR driver Austin Dillon and Sam Crabtree, an engineer from Dow Chemical picture in front a NASCAR racer
At least two Mean Green alumni will travel to PyeongChang, South Korea, next month to share their expertise as sports broadcasters at the Olympic games. Leila Rahimi ('02) will cover the women's hockey tournament and Ralph Strangis ('16) will do play-by-play for the USA men's and women's hockey games, as well as the gold medal games, for Westwood One radio. We started counting down to the Olympics Nov. 1 when Olympic luger Gordy Sheer, (pictured at left), NASCAR driver Austin Dillon (second from left) and Sam Crabtree, an engineer from Dow Chemical, joined us on campus to announce UNT's new partnership with Texas Motor Speedway. After talking with our students about the science of speed, Austin revealed the Olympic paint scheme for his No. 3 car and met with Mean Green Racing students.
 
 
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Grammy nominations
Maren Morris
UNT faculty and alumni are part of projects that have earned nominations in 10 categories for the 60th annual Grammy Awards. Nominees include UNT alumna Maren Morris (pictured with her 2017 win) who is nominated this year in the Best Country Solo Performance category for "I Could Use a Love Song." Since 1964, 100 UNT and College of Music alumni have worked on projects nominated for Grammy Awards, with 53 of those winning Grammys. Grammy winners will be announced at a Jan. 28 awards ceremony in New York.
 
 
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Lifelong learning
George Alfred James
Interested in gaining a deeper understanding of jazz music, touring UNT's new buildings before they open to the public or attending a free lecture with Texas gardening expert Neil Sperry? Each of these opportunities, plus more, are offered to members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNT. OLLI at UNT offers adults age 50 and better classes, events, trips and the opportunity to make new friends. More than 100 classes take place each semester at multiple locations and are taught by university professors and area professionals.
 
 
Join OLLI
at UNT »
Spotlight on Excellence
Carla LynDale Carter-Bishop, center, with students from left, George Starks, Nathan Taylor, Emmalee Mosher and Okoye Anderson.
Shining student successes
Conference USA Basketball championships March 7-10 call 940-5652527 to purchase
UNT to co-host Conference USA Basketball Championships in Frisco

Our basketball teams have entered conference play and I'm particularly excited for UNT to co-host the Conference USA Men's and Women's Basketball Championships March 7-10 at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco. We've partnered with C-USA, the Dallas Cowboys and Visit Frisco to host the tournaments and hope to be cheering on our Mean Green teams and their coaches to the top! Mean Green athletics had an incredible fall season, with the major fall programs — football, soccer and volleyball — winning division and conference titles, advancing to postseason play, and combining to win 75 percent of games for UNT's highest winning percentage in 40 years. Our student-athletes all have made tremendous strides in the classroom by posting an all-time high NCAA Graduation Success Rate. Wren Baker, vice president and athletic director, and his team are working hard to build a program that excels academically and athletically, and I hope you'll continue to support the incredible momentum underway for the Mean Green.

Rick Holter, Courtney Collins, Jeff Whittington and Thorne Anderson
Faculty achievements
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